Special Situation Advice on Living Together with Opposite Sex

Mar 2015
3
Oslo
Hello everyone!

I am a Baha'i, and have recently become a particularly devoted one as I've finally grown up enough to truly understand the majestic nature of the Faith! In my daily striving to better myself and serve my community I've met someone with the same goals as me and we have an amazing connection, thus we've been investigating and will go on to get engaged once consent is given and then on to marriage. The relationship is absolutely chaste both mentally and physically and it is wholly based on spiritual, moral, and service ideals! Not to say that we aren't attracted to one another, as we are, but we encourage one another to exercise self-control and strengthen our spiritual foundations.

Now, an issue has arisen, I have recently moved to a new country, in which I met this person. Financially, I am not well off enough to fully support myself yet, and was living with a friend but now it is time for me to move out as his family is moving back in with him. Thus, on fairly short notice I was left searching for a place, and, living in an expensive city where there aren't that many residency options to begin with, no real options have come up yet!

I had been asking around in the Baha'i community if anyone would be able to help me out with an extra bed, but none so far have had the needs to do so except the person I am investigating with. I would otherwise be homeless for a while until I can find something. We have been a bit worried about the situation, however, as one may confuse it for cohabitation, which is strictly prohibited in the faith. We are uncertain how to proceed, as the situation will still be completely chaste - otherwise we have failed at our duty, which we don't plan to do! - and this is more of a last resort option than a first pick...

Basically, she has proposed that I stay at her place until I can find a place for myself - a process I am putting due effort into! In consulting with some friends, however, they advised us against it, warning us that we may possibly lose our voting rights. I do not believe they understand the nature of the situation, however, and am looking for further guidance!

I would love to hear the insights of fellow Baha'i's who, reading this, will have an understanding of the situation and can provide third-person input.

Shall we also contact the LSA and/or NSA to ask about our situation?

All advice is well appreciated, anything with references or links to Baha'i writings is even better!

All the best to all of you, my apologies for the long post, I hope you may all better yourselves daily with the assistance of the Almighty!

Allah'u'Abha! :D
 
Nov 2012
949
Florida
All advice is well appreciated, anything with references or links to Baha'i writings is even better.
I found this from the Universal House of Justice:

"… even if the relationship between a Bahá’í man and woman is entirely innocent, it is vitally important that they should not live together in a way that would give the wrong impression. If there is any doubt about the perceived morality of a particular situation they should unhesitatingly avoid it and seek alternative arrangements in order to preserve the good name of the Faith. In following the standards of the Faith, the friends must be not only righteous, but also wise. Naivete can do great harm, especially in the present unstable condition of social morals in the world at large."

-from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 13 October 1997
 
Aug 2014
1,399
Blue Planet
I read the UHJ answer mentioned by Josh but I guess your case is a bit different because you say that it is the ONLY choice you have for the time being to live with her. maybe the best decision is to contact the LSA and ask them for the advice. but if you don't want to do it and if you finally decide to live with her as chaste as you think it to be then i am willing to give you a proverb we have in Iran which we use in such cases. the proverb is:

"you can't put cotton and fire in one room and expect the cotton not to catch fire!" :D

but then again, people are different. maybe you are extremely powerful in self control! :p
I hope you can chose the best way after considering all the aspects and after contacting the LSA.
best wishes
 
Sep 2010
4,604
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
I read the UHJ answer mentioned by Josh but I guess your case is a bit different because you say that it is the ONLY choice you have for the time being to live with her. maybe the best decision is to contact the LSA and ask them for the advice. but if you don't want to do it and if you finally decide to live with her as chaste as you think it to be then i am willing to give you a proverb we have in Iran which we use in such cases. the proverb is:

"you can't put cotton and fire in one room and expect the cotton not to catch fire!" :D

but then again, people are different. maybe you are extremely powerful in self control! :p
I hope you can chose the best way after considering all the aspects and after contacting the LSA.
best wishes
That is a great proverb, love it.

Also it is very true, there is wisdom in Gods Law.

The situation seems hopeless, but I can assure you it is not. There is a greater good happening if you abide by the laws. God has a plan for this to unfold and it may be the LSA is the way.

Given your situation I would think there should be no Baha'i that would not offer help in some way? Thus this situation may assist the Maturity if the Bahai's in your area.

It will also assist you both if you remain strong to the Laws.

God bless you both and may it all work out well. Regards Tony
 
Jul 2011
1,747
n ireland
Dear JW I suggest you approach LSA with your predicament. I know the generosity of Baha'is and surely someone will find you a bed.
 
Mar 2015
3
Oslo
Hello all!

I really appreciate you taking the time out to provide insight with regards to my predicament!

" If there is any doubt about the perceived morality of a particular situation they should unhesitatingly avoid it..."
I wonder what they mean by this, maybe we could elaborate?

"you can't put cotton and fire in one room and expect the cotton not to catch fire!"
There is wisdom and logic in this saying for sure, as one can easily feel overconfident in their ability of self-control. This seems to be my case... I have been pressured many times in many different situations but I'm quite stubborn and when I learn that something is wrong I feel I'm very good at avoiding temptations. However, one can never be too sure of themselves and I'm afraid I may be overconfident so I will ponder this further!

Tony, very inspiring response, thank you! I have complete faith in the Will of God and am trying to look for signs and confirmations in order to arrive at my conclusion. I agree that following the laws is the only real option; making sure we're following the laws is the position I am in :)

Thank you all again for your help, it is well appreciate!

I will consult with the person with regards to referring to the LSA and I think that will be the best option as they will have guidance, and can maybe find me an alternative place to stay!

But again I will reinforce my perspective of the situation: In this case, this is a Baha'i friend who has seen that I need aid and is lending me assistance in the form of housing. It just so happens we're also in the end of our investigation process, thus the confusion has arisen. If there were other suitable options I would not hesitate to take them only they haven't shown themselves yet.

No decisions have as of yet been made but if the deadline is reached without finding an alternative I will be forced to move in anyways or stay on the streets as there is absolutely no accommodation available before I must leave the current place of residence!

I will contact the LSA as soon as I have consulted with the other person (after class) and will hopefully be guided to the right course of action!

Feel free to share any additional insights :)

God bless you all!

Jahn
 
Sep 2010
4,604
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Hello all!

I really appreciate you taking the time out to provide insight with regards to my predicament!

I wonder what they mean by this, maybe we could elaborate?

There is wisdom and logic in this saying for sure, as one can easily feel overconfident in their ability of self-control. This seems to be my case... I have been pressured many times in many different situations but I'm quite stubborn and when I learn that something is wrong I feel I'm very good at avoiding temptations. However, one can never be too sure of themselves and I'm afraid I may be overconfident so I will ponder this further!

Tony, very inspiring response, thank you! I have complete faith in the Will of God and am trying to look for signs and confirmations in order to arrive at my conclusion. I agree that following the laws is the only real option; making sure we're following the laws is the position I am in :)

Thank you all again for your help, it is well appreciate!

I will consult with the person with regards to referring to the LSA and I think that will be the best option as they will have guidance, and can maybe find me an alternative place to stay!

But again I will reinforce my perspective of the situation: In this case, this is a Baha'i friend who has seen that I need aid and is lending me assistance in the form of housing. It just so happens we're also in the end of our investigation process, thus the confusion has arisen. If there were other suitable options I would not hesitate to take them only they haven't shown themselves yet.

No decisions have as of yet been made but if the deadline is reached without finding an alternative I will be forced to move in anyways or stay on the streets as there is absolutely no accommodation available before I must leave the current place of residence!

I will contact the LSA as soon as I have consulted with the other person (after class) and will hopefully be guided to the right course of action!

Feel free to share any additional insights :) God bless you all! Jahn
Jahn - Dear friend, you have the spirit and it will not let you down. There is a lot of times in life that things seem hopeless and years later you realize that better choices could and should have been made.

Dear Jahn, I offer advice as I have faced your situation and I can say the Laws of Baha'u'llah would have been the wisest choice. If the Laws are excused aside for any reason that is not exempted in the Holy Book, then we take a path in life of our choice and not of Gods. Thus it takes some time for this process to heal and in some cases the path leads even further away.

You will be amazed at the Power of this Faith when one abides within the protection of Baha'u'llah. Pray dear Jahn from the depths of your heart and an answer will be given, a solution will be found.

The "Tablet of Ahmad" is very powerful when used as it should be. Here is the link - Tablet of Ahmad

These choices we are given by God to set our foundations in His Love and Faith, now is the time given to you to set the corner stone, I also pray a Tablet of Ahmad for you and your friend, May God Grant you both strength in all your choices. :yes: ;)

God Bless and Regards Tony
 
Oct 2014
1,823
Stockholm
Well, the full text of the message from the UHJ reads:

"With respect to Bahá'ís living in the same residence with a person of the opposite sex, such an arrangement would by no means be automatically considered unacceptable. It is not uncommon, for example, for a person to let out bed-sitting rooms in his or her house to students, vacationers, or others. Similarly, a man or woman may employ a housekeeper or servant of the other sex. What is considered proper in such arrangements varies from country to country.

The laws and principles of our Faith, on the other hand, are meant to apply across all cultures, and what Bahá'ís would consider immoral is people who are not married living together as husband and wife, and indulging in sexual relations. Beyond this, however, even if the relationship between a Bahá'í man and woman is entirely innocent, it is vitally important that they should not live together in a way that would give the wrong impression. If there is any doubt about the perceived morality of a particular situation they should unhesitatingly avoid it and seek alternative arrangements in order to preserve the good name of the Faith. In following the standards of the Faith, the friends must be not only righteous, but also wise."


I have not been able to find the original message, though.

gnat
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
"you can't put cotton and fire in one room and expect the cotton not to catch fire!"
Dear JW381, the above quote is so very wise.
I have no more to add.

loving regards
bill
 
Oct 2014
1,823
Stockholm
Dear JW381, the above quote is so very wise.
I have no more to add.

loving regards
bill
I couldn't agree more. I find it perverse to presuppose that any meeting between a man and a woman automatically carries the sex option with it. It's in no way a Bahá'í view - I repeat in no way.

gnat